This ETF assessment discussed the strategic context and recent developments with regard to human capital in Kazakhstan. Like previous ETF assessments, the report described the strategic context in which education and training are expected to contribute to human capital development, and it presented data that is relevant to the interpretation of this context. The assessment outlined a selection of challenges that require attention, including the absence of policies to tackle the challenges and harvest the opportunities of internal and external migration, shortages in the area of digital skills development and a shortage of VET specialists in the area of human capital development.
The main message this report wanted to send is not one about gaps, but one about achievements. Kazakhstan has achieved a lot, and its remarkable level of commitment to education and training and to its improvement for the benefit of young people and adults in recent years has already become an example of good practice in its own right – an example which other countries are starting to learn from and follow. Thus, the recommendations in this report are not meant as criticism but as constructive proposals on how Kazakhstan could capitalise on its experience, potential and ideas to make tangible progress on its policy commitments.
As noted earlier, the main question that this report intended to answer was whether the undoubted achievements in this respect are wide-reaching and deep enough to bring the country closer to its ambitious, long-term goal of becoming one of the most competitive economies in the world by 2050. While the overall conclusion is that Kazakhstan is on track to achieve this, this report also analysed three major challenges and numerous policy-related gaps around each challenge, which may create risks further down the road by slowing down the pace of positive change and undermining its sustainability and impact.
These challenges include the ineffective distribution and use of state-sponsored opportunities for human capital development through VET; the unsatisfactory quality and limited relevance of teaching and learning in the sector; and the deficiencies in workforce development caused by a lack of adult education. The assessment established that Kazakhstan has created most of the conditions required to resolve these challenges and that much has been achieved. However, it also established that more remains to be done in order for the reforms to gain proper traction and become more effective.
None of these challenges and gaps is new or insurmountable, but they have been persistent due to structural, regulatory and planning problems, which this report summarises and highlights as a basis for its recommendations. The hope is that the analysis and proposals in this ETF assessment will prove helpful in the mobilisation of stakeholders, the planning of adjustments to the reforms, and the implementation of the otherwise commendable intentions of authorities for a creating a better VET and lifelong learning system in Kazakhstan.